Does Only One Church Possess the TRUTH?
The problem of church division plagues Christianity as a whole. Every religious group in the Christian world struggles to obey the command ascribed to Corinth by the apostle Paul, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). Disputes over doctrine, scruples, opinions, worship practices, and feelings continue to threaten the peace and growth of the church at every turn. Denominationalism has been the result of such disruption. With so many churches under different names proclaiming various truths, one can grow numb from the disunion and confusion. Denominationalism pulls believers in different directions and strains relationships with other believers in God to the point that so many just want to believe that they can all be right.
One new Christian asks, “Can the truth only be found in the churches of Christ?” The individual asks under the context of enjoying sermons preached by preachers of various denominations. It is important to understand that just because listeners enjoy the presentation of a message does not mean that the message is the truth, and likewise, it is important to note that just because something may be difficult to hear or even offensive to people does not mean that the message is erroneous (2 Cor. 5:11; Titus 1:13; Acts 17:5). In regard to the question, if one asks with the understanding that only those people with the words “Church of Christ” printed on their buildings have a monopoly on the truth, then the answer is, “No.” Not every assembly with the words “Church of Christ” nailed to the side of their building teaches the truth, and furthermore, there are numerous biblical names by which Jesus calls His church (Acts 20:28 [church of God]; 1 Thess. 1:1 [church of Thessalonica]; 1 Tim. 3:15 [church of the living God]; Heb. 12:23 [church of the first born]; Matt. 16:18-19 [the kingdom of heaven]). Any assembly worshipping under a biblical name could potentially be teaching the truth. If one asks the question with the understanding that the church of Christ is the universal body of Christ, then the answer is, “Yes.” The truth can only be found in the body of Christ, the church established by Christ in the first century (Matt. 16:18,19; Acts 2).
While it may be unfavorable in popular Christianity today, Christ and the apostles preached the one church doctrine. Paul explained in Ephesians 4:4-6 that there is only one body created and endorsed by God, and the one body teaches the one faith, the one hope, the one baptism, and the one God and Father of all. The one church/body must be unified in what they teach and practice (1 Cor. 1:10). If Christ built only one church, which is the body (Eph. 1:22-23), and those who obey the one faith and the one baptism that Christ commanded and taught in His ministry are the only ones added to the church (Acts 2:47; 1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16), then by simple reason and logic one can conclude that only those in the church that Christ built can be an example of how one obeys the truth.
For one seeking the pure, unadulterated, and whole truth that delivers the soul from damnation, there is only one church where it can be found, the Lord’s church! The Lord’s assembly may be identified under certain characteristics. The name of the assembly must be from God (1 Cor. 1:11-15; 6:11). The organization of the church must be ordained and authorized by God (1 Tim. 3; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:1-10). The teachings must be biblical (1 John 4:1,2; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 2:15). The worship and the acts thereof must be found in the New Testament acts of worship from the first century, without adding or taking away from the divine examples (John 4:23,24; Matt. 15:9). The members within must practice, believe, and teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:19-27). Every church will have its struggles and trials to overcome, but if one can find the church that fits the biblical mold recorded in the Law of Christ, one will find a place in which the truth will be taught in its entirety. Christ explains that only His church will be taken up and delivered to the Heavenly Father in the Second Coming (1 Cor. 15:23,24). Reason being, it is the only church approved by God and established in the whole truth.
Honestly, there exist numerous proclaimers of the truth throughout the world that teach certain portions of the truth clearly stated in the scriptures, but to be sanctified in the truth, one must teach “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Only in the church of the first century that Christ built, which still exists today, can the whole truth (not just some of the truth) be taught and seen to be lived (Titus 2:7-8). The whole truth of salvation teaches that individuals must hear the Word of God, which is the foundation of faith (Rom. 10:17), people must believe in their hearts that Jesus is the Son of God and God did raise Him from the dead (Mark 16:16; Rom. 10:9); they must confess what they believe before men (Rom. 10:9; Acts 8:37); they must repent, which is to live what they confess by turning away from sin (Acts 2:38), and they must be baptized for the remission of their sins to be saved in Christ and be added to the one church (1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38-47).
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